In the vernacular of our sages and in our prayers, Pesach is titled, “Z’man chayrusaynu- Time of our freedom.” Although we did attain freedom at the time of our redemption from Egypt, titling the holiday as such doesn’t seem to encapsulate the root of the holiday’s greatness.
Purim is the holiday of contradictions and tenacity-driven-optimism: Grief replaced by joy; Esther's concealment replaced by the disclosure of her national/religious identity; Haman's intended genocide of the Jews replaced by redemption; Haman replaced by Mordechai; national and personal pessimism replaced by optimism.
As a Baal Teshuva who discovered the “emes” about eight years ago, I am often asked by my FFB friends in my very FFB neighborhood to describe what inspired my wife and I to take the plunge and more specifically, what it feels like to lead a Torah observant life after so many years of living on the “other side.”
Nowadays, Jewish parents and educators must ask themselves how they can present Torah and mitzvot in a way that speaks to this generation. To many youth today, Judaism’s rich heritage seems outdated, irrelevant and boring.
You never know what event will spark a person's desire to return to Judaism. Art Sherman was an assimilated Jew married to a Polish Catholic woman. He owned a non-kosher Italian "hero sandwich shop" and an unbelievable comment, one day by his Rastafarian employee, sent him on a life-changing journey.